How to Re-Enter the Workforce with Confidence

Have you taken a break from your career to raise children, travel, volunteer, or for another reason? And now, it’s time to re-enter the workforce?

The very thought can be daunting. But with a positive attitude, preparation and patience, you can and will succeed.

During an absence from working, you can gain new skills and contacts and build existing ones. And when the time comes for re-entry, what matters most is showing how your experience before and after your career break will make you an asset to a potential employer. Here’s how to make it happen:

Start with a focus.

Ask you kick off your job search, start by assessing your situation and focusing on your needs. Do you want to find a job similar to your previous experience or move into something new? What’s your salary target, and what kinds of benefits do you need? Understand your intentions and determine what’s most important to you.

Be ready to emphasize your soft – aka transferable – skills.

These are skills like communications, time management, creativity and teamwork that are assets in any role or industry. Determine which ones are your forte and then you can focus on them as you walk through the other steps of workforce re-entry.

Polish up your resume.

Once you’ve decided the kind of role you’d be interested in, it’s time to update your resume – or possibly start from scratch and create one that’s new and improved. Here’s where you can highlight additional skills gained during your absence or address your time off with hiring managers. You can go more in-depth within your cover letter to help build your case as an ideal candidate.

Revive your professional network.

Even if you’ve been out of work for a while, you still probably have a network of people who can help as you re-enter the workforce. Have you been volunteering at your kids’ school? Then turn to faculty members or fellow PTA colleagues. Caring for an elderly family member? Perhaps other caregivers or medical professionals can help. Also, consider joining professional associations and attending networking events – whatever it takes to expose you to individuals who may have insight on job opportunities.

Nail your elevator pitch.

This is the brief speech you give to anyone you’re talking to about your professional experience and desire to get back into the fold. It should include a short synopsis of your previous roles, as well as those soft skills and other attributes that would make you an ideal job candidate.

  • Practice makes perfect. Rehearse your pitch until it feels natural and projects as confident and conversational. This will be a great start to interview prep, as well.


You may also want to work with a professional career coach and/or consider temporary jobs as you get your feet wet again in the work pool. In the Central Valley area and beyond, the PrideStaff Modesto team can help. Now and through every step of your career cycle, we’ll have your back, from resume prep to interviewing savvy and access to a wide variety of opportunities you may not find on your own, we’ll be your advocate, ally and adviser. Contact us today to learn more.